I’m a big fan of arcade racers after playing classics like OutRun, Ridge Racer and Daytona USA for hours on end in my youth, so when one comes along on modern consoles I simply have to try it out. I’ve had the pleasure (and the pain) of playing a few takes on the genre over the last year, but none have satisfied my arcade racing urges quite as much as Horizon Chase Turbo – its blend of fun and hectic racing has simply kept me hooked to my Nintendo Switch for hours on end.
Horizon Chase Turbo sees you racing against countless other drivers as you compete for first place. This means speeding across an assortment of tracks that are all full of twists and turns, breaking at the right time to drift through without crashing off track, and avoiding contact with the other competitors that’ll do their best to disrupt your driving line. It’s good old-fashioned arcade racing that’s very old-school in design, but very satisfying to actually play.
There are a few factors to consider when racing such as the fact that you can run out of fuel mid-race. Fortunately, there are plenty of collectible gas canisters littered across each track, so provided you keep on top of it you shouldn’t have a problem. Then there’s the elusive blue coins that are scattered on each track, with a reward given if you collect them all. This isn’t a problem most of the time since they’re all easy to spot, but trying to collect them whilst avoiding contact with other racers can sometimes be a little bit more difficult. Either way, both your decreasing fuel and the blue coins add an extra element to the gameplay that makes it about more than just simply finishing ahead of your rivals – if simply winning is your priority though, you’ll be glad to know that your car comes equipped with a nitro boost that’ll allow you to speed ahead of the pack when in a sticky situation…
The gameplay itself is simple enough, with the main stumbling block for players being the aggression of your opponents. As mentioned, you’ll have to work your way around them when driving, but they won’t make it easy for you – especially when you’re drifting around bends and corners. It can be frustrating to find yourself stuck behind a foe and not being able to slip past to get that last gasp victory (or finding yourself falling behind because you collided with a foe), though on the flip-side it makes squeezing through tight gaps and getting that hard-earned victory all the more sweeter. There’s a good balance of challenge and fun, and it makes Horizon Chase Turbo all the more enjoyable to play because of it.
Horizon Chase Turbo’s main game mode is the ‘World Tour’ which sees you heading across the world and competing in countless events. It’s pretty meaty with more than a hundred races to get through, though fortunately you only have to finish fifth or higher to progress. Those who want to earn the best bonuses (including some neat cars) will want to get the highest finishes mind, so there’s always an incentive to replay events as you go on. Fortunately, the cars you unlock offer different stats too, so you can always head back to previous events and use a vehicle that’s faster than your last or that better suits your playstyle.
It’s just a fun mode to play through and it’s easy to lose hours going through each event – I’ve had a good few late nights where ‘one more race’ ended up turning into another hour of barging past opponents and smashing out a few more victories. Horizon Chase Turbo is definitely an addictive game and it’s in the ‘World Tour’ that you’ll see most of your time spent.
There are other game modes present though, so there’s plenty to offer to keep you hooked to Horizon Chase Turbo when you’re done with the ‘World Tour’. There’s ‘Endurance’ which sees you take on race after race in one big session, with a whopping event made up of over one-hundred races proving to be the spectacle of the mode. You’ll definitely need perseverance, but those who like a meaty challenge can spend a good few hours working to prove they’ve got the grit to complete it. Then there’s the ‘Championship’ which puts you in events made up of four races – it’s pretty much like Mario Kart’s cups, but with less of a sense of grandeur to it.
The stand out mode in the Nintendo Switch version of Horizon Chase Turbo is the ‘Playground’, which offers challenges to the player that changes up how the game plays. So far I’ve played through a challenge that gave me unlimited nitro boost and one that took away the HUD, and each made the experience feel all the more unique in their own little ways. You can upload your results to a leaderboard and see how well you performed compared to other players too, which is pretty fun – even if did show that maybe I’m not as good at the game as I thought I was. It’ll be interesting to see what new challenges get added in the future and it could certainly keep some players coming back long after they’ve finished with the other game modes.
On the multiplayer side of things there’s only local support for up to four players, which is a bit of a shame. Mario Kart has been my go-to for my online multiplayer fix for a while, but I think Horizon Chase Turbo could’ve trumped it for a bit – it’s a shame that it’s not an option. Still, playing with friends locally is a lot of fun so it’s not too big a deal, whilst the ‘Playground’ mode does add its own share of online-based challenges too.
One thing which Horizon Chase Turbo deserves a lot of praise for is its presentation. The game is full to the brim with colour, whilst each environment you race across has plenty of little details that help them stand out from one another. There’s a simple and almost old-school style of visuals, yet it’s shown so cleanly and in such an attractive way that it’s hard not to be impressed throughout. Honestly, everything is just so eye-popping – even on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode, where the game manages to both look and run great with it remaining at a very consistent 60fps throughout each event.
Horizon Chase Turbo offers a thoroughly enjoyable arcade racing experience, with the exciting races and the meaty game modes offering enough entertainment to keep you hooked to your Switch for some time. The lack of online multiplayer is a little bit disappointing, but overall this is a title that racing fans won’t want to miss out on.
Developer: Aquiris Game Studio
Publisher: Aquiris Game Studio
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC